A contractor who had accused the Karnataka Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR) Minister K S Eshwarappa of demanding 40 per cent commission for a contract, was found dead in a lodge in the coastal town of Udupi on Tuesday morning.
Police suspect it to be a case of suicide and have launched an investigation.
According to police, the body of Santosh K Patil from Belagavi district was found in a room in the private lodge.
His friends were staying adjacent to his room.
Patil reportedly sent some messages to a few media houses saying that he was committing suicide and alleged that Eshwarappa was responsible for his death.
Reacting to the incident, Eshwarappa said he had no information about the suicide.
"I have no information. I had filed a case (defamation suit) against him for levelling the charges and the case was admitted. I am learning about the suicide from you (media)," Eshwarappa said.
To a query that Patil had blamed him for his death, the minister said, "He could have written it but I have no information about it. I have no clue why he wrote my name in the death note and why he accused me. Only he can answer but he is no more."
On March 30, Patil, who had claimed himself to be a Bharatiya Janata Party worker, alleged that he had executed a work in the RDPR department and wanted the payment but Eshwarappa demanded 40 per cent commission in the Rs 4 crore work.
The minister not only rubbished his charge, but also filed a defamation suit against him.
Reacting to the incident, the state Home Minister Araga Jnanendra said the case would be investigated.
He said the superintendent of police had visited the spot.
Leader of Opposition Siddaramaiah has demanded the arrest of the minister, registration of case against him under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and his sacking from the ministry.